Deja-Vu and Tricks of the Mind

Course Description

What is deja-vu, and how common is it? How do psychologists explain deja-vu? How can understanding memory, attention, and perception help us make sense of mental experiences?

This course describes and explains the experience of déjà vu through various topics typically covered in an introductory psychology course: memory, attention, perception, and thinking. In discussing these topics, however, we learn of some other oddities that people commonly experience. For example, have you ever forgotten something but felt like it was on “the tip of your tongue?” Have you ever met a stranger and thought, “I feel like I know them from somewhere,” but can’t figure out from where? Ever look at something closely only to realize that you failed to notice something obvious about it?

This course demonstrates how psychology can provide insight into our cognitive experiences. It begins with an overview of the different types of memory (i.e., short-term, long-term) along with the function, capacity, and duration of each. You will engage in in-class replications of prominent cognitive studies, tests of memory span, and other activities demonstrating the nature and limits of memory. Likewise, small-group activities, class discussions, lectures, and video clips will be used to illuminate the nature and limits of attention. Both in-class and nightly homework assignments will offer experiential exercises for improving memory and attention. In a final project, you will use your knowledge of memory, attention, and perception to explain how the mind can “play tricks” on us through experiences such as forgetting, misremembering, and deja-vu.

During this class, students, you will:

  • • Acquire knowledge regarding memory, attention, and deja-vu
  • • Develop skills for improving memory and attention
  • • Gain an understanding of how memory, attention, and perception can be used to explain a variety of cognitive experiences
  • • Develop an enhanced awareness regarding one’s own thinking
  • • Examine the relevance of course material to their personal lives
By exposing you to some of the core topics at the foundation of psychology, this course will prepare you for a college-level introductory psychology course. This course will also provide you with an array of skills, insight, and knowledge relevant to your personal lives. Whether driving a car, studying for an exam, or trying to remember the name of a person you met just 5 minutes ago, you will be able to use your knowledge of attention and memory to enhance your personal and academic success.


There are no prerequisites for this course; it offers an introduction to the field of psychology.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 25, 2022 - July 29, 2022
Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Caroline Stanley
Course Number: 10433